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Date: 03-25-2024

Case Style:

United States of America v. Xiaoqin Yan

Case Number:


Court: The United States District Court for the

Plaintiff's Attorney: The United States Attorney’s Office for Mobile

Defendant's Attorney:

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cy, st criminal defense lawyer represented the Defendant charged with Setting Fire to a Montgomery Church and Illegally Possessing a Firearm.

Chinese Woman Sentenced to 102 Months in Federal Prison for Setting Fire to a Montgomery Church and Illegally Possessing a Firearm

Acting United States Attorney Jonathan S. Ross announced the sentencing of a Chinese national for arson and illegal firearm possession. On March 22, 2024, a federal judge sentenced 30-year-old Xiaoqin Yan to 102 months in prison. Federal inmates are not eligible for parole.

According to court records and evidence presented at Yan’s June 2023 trial, on September 30, 2021, Yan entered a church in downtown Montgomery and ignited multiple fires inside the building. The Montgomery Fire Department was able to extinguish the blaze, but only after the church sustained significant damage. Evidence presented during the trial showed that Yan had multiple encounters with church staff prior to September 30 and had exhibited odd behavior.

When arresting Yan on October 4, 2021, agents found items identical to those seen on church surveillance videos, as well as clothing matching the type worn by Yan when setting the fires. Officers also found a handgun. At the time of the arson and her arrest, Yan had overstayed her non-immigrant visa and, therefore, could not lawfully possess a firearm.

The Montgomery Fire/Rescue Bureau of Investigations, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the U.S. Marshals Service Gulf Coast Regional Fugitive Task Force, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement investigated this case, with assistance from the Montgomery Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorneys B. Chelsea Phillips and Brandon W. Bates prosecuted the case.


Defendant was found guilty and sentenced to 102 months in prison.

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